Christmas came early in the Glover household. It came in October. It’s not often it happens, but it did this year. As you’ve probably gleaned from my previous blogs, I come across as being ‘Consumer Socialist’ and anti DSLR. If you’ve read my other blogs you’ll be aware how anti I am. All the camera magazines are virtually 100% DSLR and Compact System Camera (CSC) orientated, with a few reviews of “High end” compacts (for that you can usually read “More expensive than an entry level DSLR/CSC"). There’s hardly any mention of entry level compacts, or bridge cameras. And the ad’s in the classifieds are much of a muchness, the same cameras being offered by the retailers at similar prices.  The major (read expensive) accessory companies and the big 7 manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Olympus, Panasonic & Fujifilm) take out full page ads glorifying their expensive DSLR & CSC  offerings, whilst the aforesaid photography mags are tripping over themselves to review these cameras.  By now you’ll be thinking “This is beginning to sound like Ronnie Corbett in his armchair, staring out with an early Christmas present, going through consumer socialism, camera magazines to the big manufacturers. Where will this end?”

So you might think I’m anti DSLR and a socialist. Actually I’m neither. I don’t vote Labour, and I’m not anti DSLR. What I am anti, is the way we’re treated by the camera makers, and the photography magazines. I do understand that the people who read these magazines probably own, or aspire to own, the cameras they feature. But what I really do understand about them, is that if they featured all types of camera then they’d get a wider readership. Manufacturers would advertise reasonably priced compacts alongside DSLR/CSC models and sales of compacts would rise again. Ok, that last bit’s my fantasy. I know that the magazines don’t want to return to the place they were at when they first started. Take Digital Camera, for example, which recently celebrated 10 years of publication. It’s first issue didn’t even review any DSLR’s. The other photography publications of the time (with the exception of Amateur Photographer) were following a similar format. These magazines had started because of the explosion in digital photography that occured because digital cameras became affordable and had three major advantages over film rivals.They now produced images comparable to 35mm film cameras, the photographer had the ability to instantly see the images on screen and delete those you don’t want to keep, without having to wait 48 hrs to see your images were, and lastly, you could re-use the '"Digital Film" memory without having to buy a new film every time you fill a roll. Over the years the magazines have changed  their focus. I’m sure that their readership has changed too, probably because as camera prices fell, people started buying better cameras as they became more experienced. But I'm also sure there's still lots of people buying their first cameras or just sticking with Point 'n' Shoot models for snapshops, and I’m doubly sure that the more the magazines focused on DSLR’s, the more compact point and shoot users stopped reading them.

And as DSLR’s became cheaper, then more people bought them. Look at Canon’s first consumer entry level DSLR, the Eos 300D, introduced in 2003. It’s price was a hefty £999.00. Consider their current entry level DSLR the Eos 1100D, at a price of around £349.00, or even Nikon’s D1000 at £299.00. It’s a third of the price of the original entry level models. High end  compacts and bridge models are often more expensive. You might think that sounds good to me, but whilst it’s nice to have ‘affordable’ DSLR’s, it’s what you’re buying into that gripes me. An “Average” budget lens costs more than the camera itself. Whilst you can pick up some cheaper lenses, the average reader of the average camera magazine will pay on average £400-£500 for a lens. Don’t forget, it’s £200.00 for a Canon or Nikon flashgun, plus £100.00 plus for a “Decent” tripod, £50.00 upwards for a case, over £30.00  for a single  filter (and an average owner will have at least 5 or 6), £35.00 for a remote, and much more on top. So a Canon Eos 600D, or Nikon D3200 Costs around £450.00, an extra “Decent” lens adds another £400.00, and the rest of the bits mentioned above brings the total to a shade under £1400.00. Hardly what I’d call affordable. Yes, you don’t have to buy it all at once, but once you’ve got the bug, you have to have it, if you know what I mean.

My ranting seems to have taken us further away from the starting point of this article, my early Christmas present. The cynical among you might have spotted where this article will end up. You might have read my buying advice, particularly upon buying second hand equipment. Even DSLR’s. Did I just say that? Surely not? Sadly, I did. I was in a branch of Cash Generators in October, when I spotted a bargain. I feel quite guilty about this, but it was too good to miss. I’d bought my Fuji HS20 EXR in April. My wife had said she’d buy me a ‘Proper’ camera for Christmas, but I said it would be too expensive. Her son had bought a DSLR and extra lenses, remote, tripod etc. Well £180.00 for a camera body that costs £450.00 upwards brand new and is virtually in mint condition, can’t be left on the shelf for someone else to bag a bargain. Even if it is a DSLR!

So now we’re into the real purpose of this article. It's to let you know that I’ve bought a DSLR, whilst still retaining my integrity. As I said earlier, it’s not that I’m anti DSLR/CSC, I’m anti all the hype and the "You must buy a DSLR or CSC" image perpetuated by the manufacturers and the lap dog magazines being taken for walk by them. I wonder how many Photography Magazine Editors will be reading this in anger? I’m not bothered. Or how many will be agreeing with me in principal? How long will it be before the number of magazines suddenly start dwindling? It happened to the computer magazines – will it happen to the camera mags as well?

You might be thinking, “How can Our Col justify going DSLR after all the anti DSLR stuff he rants on about?” Well, as I've said twice before in this blog, I'm not anti DSLR - I'm anti the excessive pricing, and the expectation that you should be buying one, even the biased incorect info that compact sales are falling and people are buying DSLR's and CSC's. If you go back to my cost analysis above, I spent £125.00 on not, one, not two, but three second hand lenses, £12.00 on a battery and £2.09 on a remote control. The rest of my gear I already have for my HS20, bought, may I add, for a fraction of the price of the kit the magazines recommend from Amazon. Total outlay: £379.09 as compared to over £1400.00 new. The accessories I already had, cost me £60.00 at most, and are included in the £379.00 price.That's just a fraction over 25% of the new cost of what the magazines reccommend. I "Went DSLR" when I decided to, and at the price I was prepared to pay.

If you're wondering about the integrity of this websites stance on being a DSLR/CSC free zone, you can relax. My opinions haven't changed. This website will be a safe haven for all those who either have no intention, or can't afford, to go DSLR but love photography. Let the camera magazines ignore you, come to me all you point 'n' shoot photographers who feel you're ignored. This site was specifically set up for people like you. I don't care if my site defies the convential rational of some of the stuffy 'Amateurs' who say I'm doing things all wrong. No professionals have made negative comments about the site. The advice given on this site is basic, and it works. Anyone can follow my advice. Some things are intended to be light hearted, whilst most of the articles are practical. I may have a DSLR, but I'm sticking to the principles I used when I started this website.

Merry Christmas to all my visitors.